PARIS, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Karl Marx has always been "a sort of scientific and political backbone for me," director of "The Young Karl Marx" Raoul Peck said during a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.
The Haitian director has made a series of political films, notably "I Am Not Your Negro," telling the story of the social and political struggles of black Americans based on unpublished text by James Baldwin. He also made "Lumumba" based on the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With "The Young Karl Marx" based on the author of Capital, Peck does not hide his political engagement. "I am not a filmmaker who makes films in order to amuse himself or to simply tell stories. I make political cinema inspired by a current fight," he said.
Peck spent his youth in the Democratic Republic of Congo and then went to Germany for university, where he began to study Marx. In the 1980s, he became a journalist and photographer, and later a director. He was the minister of culture in Haiti from 1996 to 1997.
For the director, "cinema always has the objective of struggle." The inspiration for "The Young Karl Marx" and "I'm Not Your Negro" came at a moment when he realized that "the world, in particular the Western world, found itself in a moment of decadence. Politics is decreed, and the rise of the populist, a sign that the people have a problem with the leaders."
As an artist and filmmaker, "it was necessary that I find my own response; it was to return to fundamentals. I had two primary fundamentals in my life: James Baldwin and Karl Marx," he explained.
"With these two films, I hoped to show their ideas and knowledge to the new generation, so that they can stockpile these ideas for themselves and fight -- it's committed contemporary political action."
Peck had the opportunity to study Marx from age 20 and completed four years of seminars on Capital in a "non-dogmatic" university system.
"To study Marx at the time, it was about using the works of the philosopher, the economist, the politician, and the historian for my own reflection -- a reflection which was able to modernize itself and which always questions itself. It's for this reason that till today, I can make use of these instruments to analyze what is happening in the world."
"Marx has accompanied me all of my life. He has always been like a sort of scientific and political backbone for me," Peck said.
The Franco-German-Belgian biopic on Karl Marx -- a project lasting 10 years -- concentrates on the period 1843-1848, during which Marx exiled himself in Paris. Here, he met Engels, and they created the Communist League and wrote the "bible" of workers' revolutions in Europe: "The Communist Manifesto" published in 1848.
These are the most important moments in the life of Marx, which shows the evolution of his thinking and the beginning of the struggle between utopian socialism, anarchist socialism, and the scientific socialism presented by Marx, and which culminates in the manifesto, explained the director.
Peck said the film script was written based on the correspondence of Marx and Engels. "There are scenes which are exactly as in the correspondence; even the dialogue is authentic."
It is important to present history authentically when people in the West have so many prejudices regarding Marxism, he underlined.
For Peck, Marxist thinking remains the perfect instrument for understanding the world today. "The first chapter of the manifesto is a description of that which is happening in the world today -- many of the phrases in the manifesto are strong phrases today."
Despite the overall drop in Marxist influence in the West, Marx has been on the covers of Western economic magazines especially since the 2008 financial crisis, Peck said.
"Every day, there is an article on Marx. Is it that Marx is outdated or not? We realize that Marx is relevant as long as there is a capitalist society," he observed.